The Magic Carpathians, Wednesday, 3/14 

Music

Music

Self-styled purveyors of “ethno-core,” Poland’s Magic Carpathians combine mournful vocals, tribal percussion, eerie woodwinds, and noise collages into a hypnotic mega-drone; something akin to the Art Ensemble of Chicago transplanted to Eastern Europe. While sometimes their prog-travelogues venture into New Age territory, this group is nonetheless fearlessly inventive. Also appearing on this wildly eclectic bill are Louisville’s avant-guitarist Keenan Lawler, who gained a fair amount of notice at the fourth Terrastock festival, and Ohio’s Silo the Huskie, who continue in the tradition of Archers of Loaf. Rounding out the night are the ever-daring Gannett’s New Faggot Cunts. If there’s one show this week to catch, this would be it, so make your way to the Springwater for a night of left-of-center sonic exploration.

Thursday, 8th

MAN OR ASTROMAN? There are a number of reasons ranging from the amusing to the architectural (how will they get their hilarious stage props in there?) not to miss Man or Astroman? when they play The End. Equally inspired by Dick Dale and B-grade space movies, MOAM? always put on an amusing show and have seemingly never lost their enthusiasm for funny costumes and clowning stage antics. The band’s Web site promises a tour-only CD—a companion to their newly-released album, A Spectrum of Infinite Scale, which features solo recordings from the band members.

Kate Campbell Her previous albums have explored folk, pop, and some international sounds, but Campbell’s latest date, Wandering Spirit, superbly blends traditional hymns and Southern soul influences. She appears at 12th & Porter along with the great band that backs her on the album. See the story on p. 30.

Dash Rip Rock A band this energetic and alcohol-loving could only hail from one place: New Orleans. Having recently survived another flurry of changes—namely singer/guitarist Bill Davis’ relocation to Nashville and the induction of local bassist Kenny Ames (of Jason and the Scorchers fame) last year to replace the legendary “Hoaky” Hickel—this fast-paced, playful country-rock trio is entering its 17th year of setting the standard for other bar bands to follow. Their latest CD, a 24-track best-of collection entitled Hits and Giggles, relives all the witty, irreverent favorites while also conveying the camaraderie and talent that have kept Dash Rip Rock a viable entity for so long. Though the CD is available through the band’s Web site (www.dashriprock.com), you’d be well advised to pick up your copy in person when the band lets loose at The Sutler.

Punchy Though this Austin-based old-school rock quartet have the passion and restless spirit of influences ranging from Springsteen to The Clash, bandleader Fritz Beer doesn’t yet have the timeless sense of melody or the straight-to-the-brain wordsmithery to make his group more than a conventional bar band with a better-than-average gift for arrangement. Still, they should rattle the walls at Springwater.

Deathreat/No Parade/Face Down in Shit/Pupae In what amounts to a hardcore supergroup summit, these four bands play at Angle of View, a new performance space at 417 Gallatin Rd. Deathreat play music that draws heavily on the glory days of Swedish hardcore. No Parade celebrate the release of their first vinyl EP, which faithfully documents their anthemic squall. Pupae are best described by their demo review in a prominent ’zine, which reads like a truism: “Pupae is hardcore.” Face Down in Shit joins the fray with a message that will doubtless be preached to converts. Call 262-7300 for more information.

Thursday, 8th & Friday, 9th

Sarah Masen Listening to The Dreamlife of Angels—Masen’s fourth album, just released this Tuesday—it’s clear that the singer-songwriter has a new perspective on life. The June 1999 birth of her daughter Dorothy Day certainly had a hand in the transformation, leading the Nashville-based Christian artist not only to examine that miracle, but also to focus on values such as compassion, hope, and freedom to a greater degree than ever before. Through acoustic-driven arrangements warmed by organs, electric guitars, and percussion, Masen shares her poetic observations in the form of memorable melodies, with her engaging voice traveling from soulful confidence to graceful fragility. A literate and humble writer, she never comes across as heavy-handed or didactic; instead her story-songs are hopeful, heartfelt searches for a deeper understanding of humanity, spirituality, and the intersection of the two. Masen performs with a backing band Thursday at Bluewind, then follows with a solo show Friday at Zero Gravity Cafe, 2604 Thompson Station Rd., Thompson’s Station.

Friday, 9th

Blue Rodeo/John Wesley Harding This terrific double bill at 328 Performance Hall pairs Blue Rodeo, the Toronto roots-pop band that has yet to run dry of jangly, soaring melodies after eight records and 17 years, with Harding, whose new LP The Confessions of St. Ace finds the wry singer-songwriter in fine rocking spirit and a delectably sardonic mood. We recommend not missing a moment of Harding’s set, as he’s a winning, frequently hilarious live performer who’s been known to stop the show with the odd Madonna cover.

DJ Assault After this past Sunday’s event at Jody’s featuring the Detroit Grand Pubahs, the “Comin’ From tha D” tour loops back through Middle Tennessee, this time featuring another luminary from Detroit’s electronic underground. A riotous and utterly unique blend of techno beats, Miami-style low-end funkiness, and raunchy-as-hell verbiage, DJ Assault’s music does his name justice. In another setting, this prolific deejay’s foul-mouthed, bad-assed raps would sound downright offensive, if not a little scary at times. But wedded to the unfettered, Dionysian pulse of techno music, tunes like “Ass-N-Titties” and “Hoes” instead sound horny, cartoonish, and menacing all at once. If his performance at the Outer Limit is anything like his recent disc, Off the Chain for the Y2K, it’ll be one continuous explosion of beats, bass, and cusswords. It’s rare enough to have live hip-hop passing through our area, and this zonked hybrid is even more uncommon, so don’t miss it.

Sarah Harmer A comfortable sense of her own style sets this Canadian singer-songwriter apart from her peers. The acoustic guitar-led songs on her solo debut You Were Here show off a quietly confident voice and an ability to swap easily the soft jazz swing of one song for the country pluck of another. Harmer holds every song together with her wonderful voice and her ability to give even the quietest song a huge chorus. Fans of Sarah McLachlan and Dido would be well advised to check out Ms. Harmer at 3rd & Lindsley.

Snakehips Splitting time between Memphis and Nashville, this decade-old rock quartet—literate both in lyrical content and musical expression—have settled back in Music City for their new album Turn You On, a low-key, catchy stream of Southern-steeped boogie as reminiscent of Smog as of Skynyrd. Playing a rare local gig at The End, Snakehips are bound to amuse and astonish with their sophisticated approach to a gut-shot medium.

Mike Clark’s Prescription Renewal Anchored by Clark, the drummer for Herbie Hancock’s influential mid-’70s Headhunters, this touring jazz-funk ensemble features guitarist Charlie Hunter from the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and his own Charlie Hunter Quartet, along with keyboardist Robert Walter, Galactic/Critters Buggin saxophonist Sherik, and DJ Logic on turntables. Make sure you arrive early for the Sugarman Three, led by saxman Neal Sugarman, which lays down stanky ’70s hard-funk grooves powered by burping organ riffs and a skin-tight rhythm section. The show begins 8 p.m. at the Exit/In.

Michael Acree & the Second Time Through With a knack for timeless hooks and a raspy whine a few steps to the left of Jay Farrar, Murfreesboro’s Michael Acree proves that liquor-fueled hillbilly desperation is still a vital commodity. His new CD, Four Cold Days in December, is a raw collection of melancholy country tunes that recall the communal hoedown feel of The Rolling Stones’ “Torn and Frayed.” Help him celebrate his album release at The Red Rose Cafe in Murfreesboro.

SONiA The mainstay of the Baltimore folk-rock group disappear fear for a decade, Sonia Rutstein now performs as a solo folksinger; yet her new album Me, Too adds country instrumentation and even salsa to her acoustic observations. She performs a benefit concert for Murfreesboro’s Domestic Violence Project with Mink, Heather Roberts, Doria Roberts, and Carter Brooks at MTSU’s Tucker Theatre in Murfreesboro. For information, call 898-0152 or e-mail women4music@hotmail.com.

Friday, 9th-Saturday, 10th

Charles Rosen & The Nashville Symphony It’s a rare musician who earns kudos over more than 30 years as both performer and musicologist. Charles Rosen has done that. At least two of his dozen urbanely erudite books—The Classical Style (1972) and The Romantic Generation (1995)—have become standard references for students and professionals. He’s also won prizes for recording everything from Bach to Stravinsky and Boulez. He’s best known, though, for his realizations of the Romantics: His Grammy-nominated account of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations has just been reissued on CD. With the Nashville Symphony this weekend, he will play Brahms—the composer who perhaps best melds the Romantic and the Classical. Though Brahms’ most telling model is Beethoven, he goes his own way, developing with imaginative innovation the implications of simple ideas via discipline gleaned from Bach. The resultant hybrid is wonderfully audible in the second of Brahms’ two piano concertos, chosen for this weekend’s pair of performances.

Saturday, 10th

Raging Slab Thought the spirit of Black Oak Arkansas was dead? Not as long as this Southern boogie crew is around to mess with it. For more than a decade, New Jersey’s Raging Slab has been giving the “classic” Southern rock of Black Oak, Molly Hatchet, and their ilk a half-serious, half-tongue-in-cheek ass-whuppin’ while throwing in liberal doses of hard-bodied Motor City metal. The Slab, who are touring in support of their new album, play at The End with The Immortal Lee County Killers & Big Jim Slade.

Whirlybird Out of the ashes of the local cult favorite Fearless Freap rises this screwy but frequently delightful new project from Freap frontman Rob Robinson. On the debut disc Black Eye, Robinson’s sardonic (but heartfelt) lyrics, wracked voice, and taunting slide guitar give extra punch to the band’s loud blend of classic and modern rock styles. Whirlybird will be spreading their wings at the Exit/In.

Saturday, 10th-Sunday, 11th

Matthew Sweet Sweet’s 1991 LP Girlfriend has as much to do with the current power-pop explosion as any Big Star or Cheap Trick nugget, and as his recent greatest-hits collection proves, the tunes didn’t stop there. Sweet plays at Bongo Johnny’s in Murfreesboro on Saturday, and at 328 Performance Hall Sunday with The Josh Joplin Group and Neilson Hubbard.

Sunday, 11th

Sterling Rutledge Fund Benefit Friends of Sterling Rutledge, a well-connected massage therapist whose indefatigable spirit has touched people throughout the local music industry, are rallying around her in her fight against cancer. To help defray her expenses, artists Beth Nielsen Chapman, Kim Richey, Mark Luna, Jen Foster, Ray Vega, and Steve Kolander are joining forces for a benefit show 6-10 p.m. at 12th & Porter. Anyone wishing to contribute in absentia can make donations to the Sterling Rutledge Fund at any Bank of America branch.

The Blacks A sexy trio of trad-rockers, the Chicago-based Blacks grind out a sound that’s like what would happen if the roadhouse below the whorehouse accidentally double-booked a hop and a hootenanny on the same night. The gritty dance band kicks off their spring tour with a stop at The End.

Chris Duarte This Austin-based blues-slinger storms the Exit/In with his heavy, intense approach to roots-rock. Duarte’s third and most recent album, last year’s Love Is Greater Than Me, is about his overcoming career doldrums and drug addiction with the help of a “Love Supreme.” Indeed, there’s a new transcendence in his fretwork, now as focused as it is flashy.

Jeb Loy Nichols Sweet soul vocals, Appalachian instrumentation, leftist-leaning politics, an occasional dub undertow—the pleasures of Nichols’ 1997 solo debut, Lovers Knot, were as subtle as they were complex. The former Fellow Traveler’s new album, Just the Way It Is, isn’t up to that standard: among other things being too offhand and, surprisingly, simpering for its own good. But no doubt Nichols’ smarts, heart, and laid-back charm will be in full effect when he plays at 3rd & Lindsley with local heroes Trent Summar and the New Row Mob.

The Cherry Blossoms Somewhere in a communal netherworld, The Carter Family, The Incredible String Band, and The Fugs get together and trade songs around a campfire while beating hand drums. Well, maybe not, but The Cherry Blossoms come damn close to that vision. If shambling folk is your cup of tea, this irresistible ensemble provide it in spades, and they’re always a delight live. Catch them at Guido’s.

Monday, 12th

Richard Buckner The possessor of one of the most distinctive voices of any contemporary singer-songwriter—and a freeform attitude toward song structure that puts him more in the tradition of Mike Watt than James Taylor—Buckner can bring a rave-up to a harrowing halt with a whisper. One of the brightest lights in alt-country will shine and dim accordingly at The End.

Cerberus Shoal Cerberus Shoal create music that would find a sure audience in Nashville’s hipster set. Drawing on influences such as Can, Sun Ra, Sun City Girls, and Captain Beefheart, and described as “a more organic Tortoise,” they explore territory ranging from overt melodicism to incidental ambience with an occasional ethnic flavor. They are joined by Panoply Academy, who play angular, edgy punk rock that recalls Chairs Missing-era Wire for its ability to maintain an experimental edge in a pop context. The Bottom Boys open the show at Springwater.

Tuesday, 13th

The Luxury Liners Before SWAG’s record release party at 12th & Porter, another bunch of exciting Nashville-based power-poppers celebrate the release of their latest EP. Shaggy-haired but freshly-scrubbed, The Luxury Liners employ head-bobbing hooks, guitars altered with dollops of distortion and reverb, and an emphatic beat that’s all about getting butts up out of seats. Added pleasure: Their new disc features a cover of Cher’s “Believe” that’s almost as joyous as the original.

Johnny Dowd The spooky country-rocker will play songs from his unnerving (yet oddly beautiful) third LP Temporary Shelter at Springwater. See the story on p. 28.

Wednesday, 14th

Dave Wakeling’s English Beat Birmingham, England’s The Beat—known to stateside audiences as The English Beat—enjoyed limited popularity in America during their brief lifespan from 1979 to 1983. But the ska revival of the mid-’90s would have been unthinkable without the lingering influence of tunes like “Mirror in the Bathroom,” whose brassy, staccato horn riff alone ensured the group frathouse immortality. Blond frontman Dave Wakeling, the man who snuck the line “Save it, fellator” onto pop radio in the spine-tingling single “Save It for Later,” is the only original member of the group left. But reports say his six-piece backing band rips credibly through Beat classics, along with the gorgeous Motown knock-off “Tenderness” from his later group General Public. The show is at 328 Performance Hall.

Jonathan Richman The reigning sage of pseudo-dweebdom still has a few tricks in his bag. From the garage clatter of The Modern Lovers to the bubblegum folk of his later years, Richman has always proven that wimpy guitars and prepubescent pop songs can provide endless hipster cred, thus paving the way for all dork rock to follow. It’s a shame most only know him as the singing narrator of There’s Something About Mary, because this guy’s recorded oeuvre spans nearly 30 years and yields a handful of truly timeless songs. We’re not really sure what Richman has in store for his latest visit to our city, but he’s always a treat, so be sure to catch him at the Exit/In with The Cowards.

The World Outside Formerly the co-leaders of The TOAST Band, guitarist Jerry Castle and bassist Billy Snidow have recruited a new drummer (Rich Redmond) and second guitarist (Kurt Allison) and have taken a new name as a way of rebooting completely. The local act’s new music is sparked by the all-out belting of Castle and the fiery twin-guitar attack, and although The World Outside’s version of modern rock is doggedly conventional, they have a well-buffed performing style that should make for a fun evening at The End.

Barbara Trent/The Panama Deception In 1993, filmmaker Trent won the Best Documentary Oscar for The Panama Deception, an exposé of the U.S. government’s underhanded motives for the 1989 invasion of Panama. (You may recognize several cast members in the new administration.) The film was considered so incendiary that it was initially denied showings both in Panama and on U.S. public television; the filmmaker herself was hounded by the FBI. Trent is a featured speaker at this week’s Women and Power Conference at MTSU; she appears before a screening of the film 7:15 p.m. Thursday in the James Union Building’s Tennessee Room. For more information about this and other screenings, call 898-2193.

A Time for Drunken Horses Bhaman Ghobadi directed this visually stunning film about Kurdish children who risk their lives as smugglers on the Iran-Iraq border. It opens for a Nashville run Friday at the Belcourt, which holds over the surprisingly popular Spanish-language drama Solas. See the review in this week's HREF="http://archives.nashvillescene.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?story=Back_Issues:2001:March_8-14_2001:Arts:Film">Film story.

My Best Fiend During the legendarily troubled production of Aguirre, the Wrath of God, director Werner Herzog reportedly threatened to shoot his lead actor, Klaus Kinski—and after watching Herzog’s documentary “tribute” to the late Kinski, an egomaniacal madman given to petulant rages, you’ll probably wonder why he didn’t. The 1999 documentary gets its first Nashville screening on video at the Watkins Film School’s free Friday-night movie series.

Ratcatcher One of 2000’s most acclaimed films, Scottish writer-director Lynne Ramsay’s drama centers on a 12-year-old boy (William Eadie) and an older girl (Leanne Mullen) who forge a tender friendship amid the horrors of a Glasgow slum. The movie opens this week at Green Hills, along with the comedy Blow Dry.

Rififi After a week of calls and requests, the 1955 crime classic returns for two Saturday and Sunday matinees at the Belcourt. Also screening Saturday: Chip Chilton and Scott Nason’s indie black comedy Encounter. See HREF="http://www.nashvillescene.com/cgi-bin/movieclock.cgi">Film Listings for more details.

Dance

Celtic Rhythms on Fire The Nashville Irish Step Dancers have been at it now for over 10 years, building their membership to 80, developing a local following, and gathering some national exposure as well. Under the direction of company founder and Chicago-native Mary Moran, NISD will bring its unique blend of traditional and progressive Irish dance styles to the Texas Troubadour Theatre March 10-11. Live musicians and Celtic singers will collaborate with the dancers in a diverse program that celebrates the vibrancy of Irish folk culture and helps to initiate forthcoming St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Proceeds from the performances help support NISD efforts in the annual world championships in Ireland.

Theater

Fosse After winning three Tony Awards in 1999, including Best Musical, this stage tribute to legendary choreographer Bob Fosse hit the road. Now it lands at TPAC’s Jackson Hall, where it will play March 13-18. The production is co-directed by Richard Maltby Jr. and Ann Reinking, who, besides being a featured dancer in various original Fosse projects, was also a driving force behind the mounting of this touring show. Chet Walker is responsible for re-creating Fosse’s dances, including such well-known numbers as “Steam Heat” and “Big Spender,” in addition to rarely seen dance and musical numbers from the choreographer’s early works.

The Winter’s Tale Actors From the London Stage is a drama troupe based at the University of Notre Dame. Its five players boast experience with prestigious London dramatic companies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre. Without elaborate sets or costumes, the company will mount a production of The Winter’s Tale, relying only on subtle gesture, body movement, and voice modulation to re-create the action and characters of Shakespeare’s uniquely magical romance. The three performances will be presented at MTSU’s Tucker Theatre March 14-16.

Write On Nashville! Originated six years ago as a partnership among Metro Public Schools Adult Basic Education, NashvilleREAD, and the Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Write on Nashville! showcases 20 original stories written by local adult learners who have met the challenge of illiteracy. These “unheard voices,” expressing a compelling variety of emotions and points of view, will be heard on the stage of TPAC’s Polk Theater on Mar. 13, as performed by members of The Rep’s professional company of actors. The program is free, open to the public, and serves as an important vehicle for increasing awareness about the probem of illiteracy in the community.

ART

Cumberland Gallery Jack Spencer is a renowned photographer in his own right, but in “The Alchemy of Light,” a spectacular showcase of works by 41 photographers, Spencer plays the role of curator. The artists he has chosen to include in the show read like a who’s who of contemporary photography—many of whom have never been shown in Nashville. Works range from the surreal imagery of Robert ParkeHarrison to vintage prints snapped by early master Edward Curtis in the 1920s. Spencer has also included four Nashville photographers in the mix: Susan Bryant, Libba Gillum, Mike Smith, and Beth Trabue. Join these talents and others at the opening reception 6-8 p.m. Mar. 10.

Finer Things Gallery In her gallery’s latest show, appropriately called “New Blood,” director Kim Brooks presents her picks for eight new artists to watch. Works range from Kathleen Stephenson’s lavishly glazed ceramic sculptures and Patrick Amiot/Brigitte Laurent’s paper and found-object collaborations to Scott Paulk’s photo-realistic colored-pencil drawings of vintage books, model airplanes, and game boards. Meet some of these new artists at the opening reception 6-8 p.m. Mar. 10.

Visual Arts Alliance of Nashville The grand opening of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts on April 8 should be a mob scene, but you can meet and talk with one of the center’s key players in a quieter setting at this VAAN forum. Expect guest speaker Mark Scala, Frist’s curator of American art, to preview the center’s four fascinating opening exhibits and talk about how the center is reaching out to the city’s visual arts community. The forum is 7-9 p.m. Mar. 8 at the Braid Electric Building on 12th Avenue South.

Picks written by Todd Anderson, Martin Brady, Doug R. Brumley, Chris Davis, Bill Friskics-Warren, Jonathan Marx, Noel Murray, Jim Ridley, Marcel Smith, William Tyler, Angela Wibking, and Ron Wynn.

Barbara Trent/The Panama Deception In 1993, filmmaker Trent won the Best Documentary Oscar for The Panama Deception, an exposé of the U.S. government’s underhanded motives for the 1989 invasion of Panama. (You may recognize several cast members in the new administration.) The film was considered so incendiary that it was initially denied showings both in Panama and on U.S. public television; the filmmaker herself was hounded by the FBI. Trent is a featured speaker at this week’s Women and Power Conference at MTSU; she appears before a screening of the film 7:15 p.m. Thursday in the James Union Building’s Tennessee Room. For more information about this and other screenings, call 898-2193.

A Time for Drunken Horses Bhaman Ghobadi directed this visually stunning film about Kurdish children who risk their lives as smugglers on the Iran-Iraq border. It opens for a Nashville run Friday at the Belcourt, which holds over the surprisingly popular Spanish-language drama Solas. See the review in this week's Film story.

My Best Fiend During the legendarily troubled production of Aguirre, the Wrath of God, director Werner Herzog reportedly threatened to shoot his lead actor, Klaus Kinski—and after watching Herzog’s documentary “tribute” to the late Kinski, an egomaniacal madman given to petulant rages, you’ll probably wonder why he didn’t. The 1999 documentary gets its first Nashville screening on video at the Watkins Film School’s free Friday-night movie series.

Ratcatcher One of 2000’s most acclaimed films, Scottish writer-director Lynne Ramsay’s drama centers on a 12-year-old boy (William Eadie) and an older girl (Leanne Mullen) who forge a tender friendship amid the horrors of a Glasgow slum. The movie opens this week at Green Hills, along with the comedy Blow Dry.

Rififi After a week of calls and requests, the 1955 crime classic returns for two Saturday and Sunday matinees at the Belcourt. Also screening Saturday: Chip Chilton and Scott Nason’s indie black comedy Encounter. See Film Listings for more details.

Dance

Celtic Rhythms on Fire The Nashville Irish Step Dancers have been at it now for over 10 years, building their membership to 80, developing a local following, and gathering some national exposure as well. Under the direction of company founder and Chicago-native Mary Moran, NISD will bring its unique blend of traditional and progressive Irish dance styles to the Texas Troubadour Theatre March 10-11. Live musicians and Celtic singers will collaborate with the dancers in a diverse program that celebrates the vibrancy of Irish folk culture and helps to initiate forthcoming St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Proceeds from the performances help support NISD efforts in the annual world championships in Ireland.

Theater

Fosse After winning three Tony Awards in 1999, including Best Musical, this stage tribute to legendary choreographer Bob Fosse hit the road. Now it lands at TPAC’s Jackson Hall, where it will play March 13-18. The production is co-directed by Richard Maltby Jr. and Ann Reinking, who, besides being a featured dancer in various original Fosse projects, was also a driving force behind the mounting of this touring show. Chet Walker is responsible for re-creating Fosse’s dances, including such well-known numbers as “Steam Heat” and “Big Spender,” in addition to rarely seen dance and musical numbers from the choreographer’s early works.

The Winter’s Tale Actors From the London Stage is a drama troupe based at the University of Notre Dame. Its five players boast experience with prestigious London dramatic companies, including the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre. Without elaborate sets or costumes, the company will mount a production of The Winter’s Tale, relying only on subtle gesture, body movement, and voice modulation to re-create the action and characters of Shakespeare’s uniquely magical romance. The three performances will be presented at MTSU’s Tucker Theatre March 14-16.

Write On Nashville! Originated six years ago as a partnership among Metro Public Schools Adult Basic Education, NashvilleREAD, and the Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Write on Nashville! showcases 20 original stories written by local adult learners who have met the challenge of illiteracy. These “unheard voices,” expressing a compelling variety of emotions and points of view, will be heard on the stage of TPAC’s Polk Theater on Mar. 13, as performed by members of The Rep’s professional company of actors. The program is free, open to the public, and serves as an important vehicle for increasing awareness about the probem of illiteracy in the community.

ART

Cumberland Gallery Jack Spencer is a renowned photographer in his own right, but in “The Alchemy of Light,” a spectacular showcase of works by 41 photographers, Spencer plays the role of curator. The artists he has chosen to include in the show read like a who’s who of contemporary photography—many of whom have never been shown in Nashville. Works range from the surreal imagery of Robert ParkeHarrison to vintage prints snapped by early master Edward Curtis in the 1920s. Spencer has also included four Nashville photographers in the mix: Susan Bryant, Libba Gillum, Mike Smith, and Beth Trabue. Join these talents and others at the opening reception 6-8 p.m. Mar. 10.

Finer Things Gallery In her gallery’s latest show, appropriately called “New Blood,” director Kim Brooks presents her picks for eight new artists to watch. Works range from Kathleen Stephenson’s lavishly glazed ceramic sculptures and Patrick Amiot/Brigitte Laurent’s paper and found-object collaborations to Scott Paulk’s photo-realistic colored-pencil drawings of vintage books, model airplanes, and game boards. Meet some of these new artists at the opening reception 6-8 p.m. Mar. 10.

Visual Arts Alliance of Nashville The grand opening of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts on April 8 should be a mob scene, but you can meet and talk with one of the center’s key players in a quieter setting at this VAAN forum. Expect guest speaker Mark Scala, Frist’s curator of American art, to preview the center’s four fascinating opening exhibits and talk about how the center is reaching out to the city’s visual arts community. The forum is 7-9 p.m. Mar. 8 at the Braid Electric Building on 12th Avenue South.

Picks written by Todd Anderson, Martin Brady, Doug R. Brumley, Chris Davis, Bill Friskics-Warren, Jonathan Marx, Noel Murray, Jim Ridley, Marcel Smith, William Tyler, Angela Wibking, and Ron Wynn.

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